When I was a teenager, living in the tropical island of Bermuda, I had my group of girlfriends. For the most part it was two or three of us who always hung out. It was a fun time in my life and I was very sad when I had to leave my friends and start all over in Canada.
When I moved to Canada it took me at least 2 years to feel like Victoria was "home". At that point I had my sister. She was (and is still), not only my sister, but my friend. We did everything together! We went to college together, we partied together, we made friends together. But if a friendship ever fizzled out or just didn't work out I always had my sissy sis, and she always had me.
As time progressed I got married, had a baby. Through a weekly post natal get-together I made some amazing friends. That is when I really understood what it meant to have girlfriends. To have women who love me for who I am, flaws and all. Women who hugged me when I cried and rejoiced with me when something wonderful happened in my life.
Then once again I moved and I had to start over. Even though my friends in Victoria are still my friends, I am unable to hang out with them almost every weekend like I used to. I have had to put myself out there again.
It's been a tough ride. I ain't gonna lie, some days it down right sucks!
When I first moved here I felt like I was looking for a boyfriend.
I'd go to the mall with Livi and Sophie (Stella wasn't around yet), and if the girls seemed to be getting along and playing with some kids, I'd strike up a conversation with the mom. A few times I even got up the nerve to ask the mom for her number. We'd exchange numbers and I'd leave feeling hopeful.
These friendships were short lived. Mostly one sided, as in the only time we would get together was when I called up the mom to organise something. The playdates were never reciprocated so the relationship went nowhere.
Then there have been those friendships that start out great! We hang out, our kids get along and even the husbands!! Perfect!!!
Then time goes on and I realise that the relationship has changed and I am once again doing the inviting, yet not getting invited and my kids are being left out when we do get together....sigh. I am left once again feeling so very disappointed and asking myself.."Am I missing something? Is it me? Am I not doing something right? Or maybe it's just them."
And there are those friendships that due to life, work and kids, have just not really had a chance to develop.
Good friends are hard to find.
But I have been blessed. I have found a true blue friend here. We hit it off from the moment we met, yet our relationship became stronger through loss. She has been there for me, for my kids and she loves them like they were her own.
She is gold.
Sadly, I cannot take her everywhere with me. (She has a life outside of me, you know)
I have also joined a book club which has been so fun! The food is yummy, the drinks are delicious and the conversation is enjoyable. All the ladies there seem really nice and the friend who invited me, I hope to get to know better.
Really, I have a lot to be thankful for. Finding friends has been a slow process but the friends that I have found are real, amazing and truly care about me and my family.
But sometimes I have bad days, sad days (before "Aunt Flo" days, if you get what I'm saying. Too much info? Sorry).
On "those days", I feel that I am surrounded by women who are nice to me, yet don't want to include me. Who I have tried to befriend but who just don't seem to be interested. Those days I loose sight and I have a pity party.
Those days I can't help but think of Stella.
I don't have a label of disability put on me. I don't have stereotypes to fight against. I don't have preconceived notions to overcome. Yet I struggle to find real friends.
Stella was born with a label. The label of Down Syndrome. A label placed upon her by society. People will automatically make untrue assumptions of her based on that label. They will judge her based on old outdated information, incorrect stereotypes and lowered standards. She will be seen as less by some and looked over because of it. She will be seen as different (which to a lot of people equals "less") and not given the chance to show those people just how smart, eloquent and capable she is.
I don't want her to feel alone, like I have felt.
I don't want her to feel like no one wants to be her friend, like I sometimes have felt.
But, she will because we all have at some point in our lives.
It's a part of life.
Those that see past the label, the stereotypes; those that choose to be Stella's friend because she is funny, kind, smart and fun to be around; I hope that Stella finds a handful of those people. So that when she has bad days were it seems like the world is against her, her friends will be there to help make her feel better, to give her a hug or a kind and supportive word.
I'm sure that's every parents' hope. Every mother's silent prayer.
Yes, good friends are hard to find.
|Such a beautiful little girl. Her potential? Limitless!|
|Of course, like me, Stella will always have a forever friend in her big sister's.|